European Comics in Official and Fan Translations


Thierry Smolderen

Thierry Smolderen

Thierry Smolderen was born in 1954 in Brussels.

He spent the 1970s studying film animation at La Cambre in Brussels, as well as dabbling in theater and music (he is a jazz guitarist).

It wasn't until the mid-1980s that he launched his career writing comic books, alongside his work as a critic and essayist for Cahiers de la bande dessinée.

He first turned to science-fiction, taking on the follow up to Dans l’ombre du soleil (Glénat, 1989) with Colin Wilson, and Hybrides (Glénat, 1987-1991) which he co-wrote starting with its second volume with author Séraphine.

He also contributed to an erotic series, Fripons, published by Humanoides Associés, and written and drawn as part of a collaboration.

With the same publisher, he also authored Karine Springwell (1990-1995) with Philippe Gauckler, Colère noire (1990-1993) with Philippe Marcelé, and Nombre (1991-1992), with Egger.

In 1993, Smolderen made his début at Dargaud with Gypsy (Dargaud 1993, Europe Comics in English 2015), a highly acclaimed series with art by Enrico Marini. The sixth and final volume was released in 2002.

In 1994, he worked with Mister B. on the comic book adaptation of the adventures of Sonic, the iconic video-game hero. Volume 1 of Sonic Adventures was published by Sirène. Thierry Smolderen later teamed up with Dominique Bertail, with whom he produced L’Enfer des Pelgram (Delcourt, 1998-2000).

The two accomplices would work together again in 2008 for a new series, Ghost Money (Dargaud, 2008) of which the sixth and final volume was released in January 2016 .

In 2013, he brought out Souvenirs de L’Empire de l’Atome (Dargaud) with Alexandre Clérisse, followed by the gripping L’Été diabolik (Dargaud), in 2015.

Recognised as one of today’s major specialists in the history of European comics, Thierry Smolderen has published numerous essays and articles on the subject in specialized journals such as Les Cahiers de la bande dessinée and 9e art, as well as in several magazines such as Art Press, Circus, and Pilote. He's also been published in Anglophone publications such as Comic Art and International Journal of Comic Art.

In 2009, he published a richly illustrated theoretical work entitled Naissances de la bande dessinée (published by Impressions nouvelles). In it he explores the origins of European comics, focusing on the complex relationship of the ‘9th art’ with media technologies that emerged over the course of the 19th century, be it photography, film or the illustrated press.

In addition, even while underlining the fundamental role of European comics in the tradition of illustrated humor, he also addresses the far-reaching connections with the first experimental forms of the modern novel, thus tracing its history to the 18th century, and more specifically to the work of the English painter and engraver William Hogarth.

Married and a father of two, Thierry Smolderen has lived in Angoulême since 1994.

He teaches scriptwriting and the history of European comics at the École Européenne Supérieure de L’image (ÉESI).

He also coordinated the master’s program in European comics, which he helped found in partnership with the University of Poitiers.